Advertisement

Entangled Life pp 187-211 | Cite as

Integrating Ecology and Evolution: Niche Construction and Ecological Engineering

  • Gillian Barker
  • John Odling-Smee
Chapter
Part of the History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences book series (HPTL, volume 4)

Abstract

Ecology and evolution remain poorly integrated despite their obvious mutual relevance. Such integration poses serious challenges: evolutionary biologists’ and ecologists’ conceptualizations of the organic world—and the models and theories based upon them—are conceptually incompatible. Work on organism-environment interaction by both evolutionary theorists (niche construction theory) and ecologists (ecosystem engineering theory) has begun to bridge the gap separating the two conceptual frameworks, but the integration achieved has so far been limited. An emerging extension of niche construction theory—ecological niche construction—now promises to achieve a richer integration of evolutionary and ecological conceptual frameworks. This work raises broader philosophical problems about how to choose and combine idealized models of complex phenomena, which can be addressed with the aid of ideas developed by biologists (such as Richard Levins) and philosophers (such as Sandra Mitchell) on the goals and strategies of model-building in the complex sciences. The result is an opening up of new pathways for conceptual change, empirical investigation, and reconsideration of the familiar that has only just begun. Ecological niche construction combines with new developments in evolutionary developmental biology to reveal the need for a deep transformation of the conceptual framework of evolution and the emergence of an integrative biology re-uniting development, evolution and ecology.

Keywords

Niche Construction Ecosystem Evolution Modern Synthesis Termite Mound Ecosystem Engineering 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Bibliography

  1. Barker, Gillian. 2008. Biological levers and extended adaptationism. Biology and Philosophy 23(1): 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berke, Sarah K. 2010. Functional groups of ecosystem engineers: A proposed classification with comments on current issues. Integrative and Comparative Biology 50(2): 147–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bruno, John F., John J. Stachowicz, and Mark D. Bertness. 2003. Inclusion of facilitation into ecological theory. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 18(3): 119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carroll, Sean B. 2005. Endless forms most beautiful: The new science of evo devo and the making of the animal kingdom. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  5. Carroll, Scott P. 2011. Conciliation biology: The eco-evolutionary management of permanently invaded biotic systems. Evolutionary Applications 4(2): 184–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carroll, Scott P., Andrew P. Hendry, David N. Reznick, and Charles W. Fox. 2007. Evolution on ecological time-scales. Functional Ecology 21(3): 387–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Choffnes, Eileen R., David A. Relman, and Alison Mack. 2010. Antibiotic resistance: Implications for global health and novel intervention strategies. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  8. Crespi, Bernard J. 2004. Vicious circles: Positive feedback in major evolutionary and ecological transitions. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 19(12): 627–633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crosby, Alfred W. 2004. Ecological imperialism: The biological expansion of Europe, 900–1900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cuddington, Kim, James E. Byers, William G. Wilson, and Alan Hastings. 2007. Ecosystem engineers: Plants to protists. Burlington: Academic.Google Scholar
  11. Cuddington, Kim, Will G. Wilson, and Alan Hastings. 2009. Ecosystem engineers: Feedback and population dynamics. American Naturalist 173(4): 488–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dawkins, Richard. 1982. The extended phenotype. New York: Freeman.Google Scholar
  13. Dawkins, Richard. 2004. Extended phenotype – But not too extended. A reply to Laland, Turner and Jablonka. Biology and Philosophy 19(3): 377–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Elton, Charles S. 1958. The ecology of invasions by animals and plants. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  15. Erwin, Douglas H. 2005. Seeds of diversity. Science 308(5729): 1752–1753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Erwin, Douglas H. 2008. Macroevolution of ecosystem engineering, niche construction and diversity. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 23(6): 304–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Estes, James A., John Terborgh, Justin S. Brashares, Mary E. Power, Joel Berger, William J. Bond, Stephen R. Carpenter, Timothy E. Essington, Robert D. Holt, B.C. Jeremy, Robert J. Jackson, Lauri Oksanen Marquis, Tarja Oksanen, Robert T. Paine, Ellen K. Pikitch, William J. Ripple, Stuart A. Sandin, Marten Scheffer, Thomas W. Schoener, Jonathan B. Shurin, R.E. Anthony, Michael E. Sinclair, Risto Virtanen Soulé, and David A. Wardle. 2011. Trophic downgrading of planet Earth. Science 333(6040): 301–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Facon, Benoit, Benjamin J. Genton, Jacqui Shyoff, Philipe Jarne, Arnaud Estoup, and David Patrice. 2006. A general eco-evolutionary framework for understanding bioinvasions. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 21(3): 130–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gilbert, Scott F., Rudolph A. Raff, and John M. Opitz. 1996. Resynthesizing evolutionary and developmental biology. Developmental Biology 173(2): 357–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Godfrey-Smith, Peter. 1996. Complexity and the function of mind in nature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Goodnight, Charles J. 2000. Heritability at the ecosystem level. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 97(17): 9365–9366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gould, Stephen J. 1977. Ontogeny and phylogeny. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Gould, Stephen J., and Richard C. Lewontin. 1979. The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: A critique of the adaptationist programme. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 205(1161): 581–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hairston, Nelson G., Stephen P. Ellner, Monica A. Geber, Takehito Yoshida, and Jennifer A. Fox. 2005. Rapid evolution and the convergence of ecological and evolutionary time. Ecology Letters 8(10): 1114–1127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hall, Brian K. 1992. Evolutionary developmental biology. London: Chapman & Hall.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hastings, Alan, James E. Byers, Jeffrey A. Crooks, Kim Cuddington, Clive G. Jones, John G. Lambrinos, Theresa S. Talley, and William G. Wilson. 2007. Ecosystem engineering in space and time. Ecology Letters 10(2): 153–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hutchinson, George Evelyn. 1965. The ecological theater and the evolutionary play. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Jablonka, Eva. 2011. The entangled (and constructed) human bank. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 366(1566): 784.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Janzen, Daniel H. 1966. Coevolution of mutualism between ants and acacias in Central America. Evolution 20(3): 249–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jones, Clive G., John H. Lawton, and Moshe Shachak. 1994. Organisms as ecosystem engineers. Oikos 69(3): 373–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jones, Clive G., John H. Lawton, and Moshe Shachak. 1997. Positive and negative effects of organisms as physical ecosystem engineers. Ecology 78(7): 1946–1957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Justus, James. 2005. Qualitative scientific modeling and loop analysis. Philosophy of Science 72(5): 1272–1286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kendal, Jeremy, Jamshid J. Tehrani, and John F. Odling-Smee. 2011. Human niche construction in interdisciplinary focus. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 366(1566): 785–792.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kerr, Benjamin. 2007. Niche construction and cognitive evolution. Biological Theory 2(3): 250–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Krakauer, David C., Karen M. Page, and Douglas H. Erwin. 2009. Diversity, dilemmas and monopolies of niche construction. American Naturalist 173(1): 26–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Laland, Kevin N., and Neeltje J. Boogert. 2010. Niche construction, co-evolution and biodiversity. Ecological Economics 69(4): 731–736.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Laland, Kevin N., John F. Odling-Smee, and Marcus W. Feldman. 1996. The evolutionary consequences of niche construction: A theoretical investigation using two-locus theory. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 9(3): 293–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Laland, Kevin N., John F. Odling-Smee, and Marcus W. Feldman. 1999. The evolutionary consequences of niche construction and their implications for ecology. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 96(18): 10242–10247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Laland, Kevin N., John F. Odling-Smee, and Marcus W. Feldman. 2001a. Niche construction, ecological inheritance, and cycles of contingency in evolution. In Cycles of contingency: Developmental systems and evolution, ed. Susan Oyama, Russell D. Gray, and Paul E. Griffiths. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  40. Laland, Kevin N., John F. Odling-Smee, and Marcus W. Feldman. 2001b. Cultural niche construction and human evolution. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 14: 22–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Laland, Kevin N., John F. Odling-Smee, Marcus W. Feldman, and Jeremy Kendal. 2009. Conceptual barriers to progress within evolutionary biology. Foundations of Science 14(3): 195–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Laland, Kevin N., John F. Odling-Smee, and Sean Myles. 2010. How culture shaped the human genome: Bringing genetics and the human sciences together. Nature Reviews Genetics 11(2): 137–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Laland, Kevin N., Kim Sterelny, John F. Odling-Smee, William Hoppit, and Tobias Uller. 2011. Cause and effect in biology revisited: Is Mayr’s proximate-ultimate dichotomy still useful? Science 334(6062): 1512–1516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Laubichler, Manfred D., and Jane Maienschein (eds.). 2007. From embryology to evo-devo: A history of developmental evolution. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  45. Levins, Richard. 1966. The strategy of model building in population biology. American Scientist 54(4): 421–431.Google Scholar
  46. Levins, Richard. 1968. Evolution in changing environments: Some theoretical explanations. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  47. Lewontin, Richard C. 1978. Adaptation. Scientific American 239: 212–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lewontin, Richard C. 1982. Organism and environment. In Learning, development and culture: Essays in evolutionary epistemology, ed. Henry C. Plotkin. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  49. Lewontin, Richard C. 1983. Gene, organism and environment. In Evolution from molecules to men, ed. Derek S. Bendall. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Lewontin, Richard C. 2000. The triple helix: Gene, organism and environment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Lindroth, Richard L., and Michael D. Madritch. 2009. Removal of invasive shrubs reduces exotic earthworm populations. Biological Invasions 11(3): 663–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Loreau, Michel. 2010. From populations to ecosystems: Theoretical foundations for a new ecological synthesis. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Loreau, Michel, and Grigoris Kylafis. 2008. Ecological and evolutionary consequences of niche construction for its agent. Ecology Letters 11(10): 1072–1081.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Loreau, Michel, Claire de Mazancourt, and Robert D. Holt. 2004. Ecosystem evolution and conservation. In Evolutionary conservation biology, ed. Denis Couvet, Ulf Dieckman, and Régis Ferrière, 327–343. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Matthewson, John, and Michael Weisberg. 2009. The structure of tradeoffs in model building. Synthese 170(1): 169–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Mayr, Ernst, and William B. Provine (eds.). 1998. The evolutionary synthesis: Perspectives on the unification of biology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  57. McDonald-Gibson, J., James G. Dyke, Ezequiel A. Di Paolo, and I.R. Harvey. 2008. Environmental regulation can arise under minimal assumptions. Journal of Theoretical Biology 251(4): 653–666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. McMullin, Ernan. 1985. Galilean idealization. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 16(3): 247–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Mitchell, Sandra D. 2002. Integrative pluralism. Biology and Philosophy 17(1): 55–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Mitchell, Sandra D. 2003. Biological complexity and integrative pluralism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Mooney, Harold A., and Elsa E. Cleland. 2001. The evolutionary impact of invasive species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 98(10): 5446–5451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Moore, Jonathan W. 2006. Animal ecosystem engineers of streams. BioScience 56(3): 237–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. O’Dowd, Dennis J., Peter T. Green, and P.T. Lake. 2003. Invasional ‘meltdown’ on an oceanic island. Ecology Letters 6(9): 812–817.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Odenbaugh, Jay. 2003. Complex systems, trade-offs and mathematical modeling: Richard Levin’s “Strategy of Model Building in Population Biology” revisited. Philosophy of Science 70(5): 1496–1507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Odling-Smee, John F. 1988. Niche-constructing phenotypes. In The role of behavior in evolution, ed. Henry C. Plotkin, 73–132. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  66. Odling-Smee, John F. 2010. Niche inheritance. In Evolution—The extended synthesis, ed. Massimo Pigliucci and Gerd B. Muller, 175–207. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  67. Odling-Smee, John F., and Kevin N. Laland. 2012. Ecological inheritance and cultural inheritance: What are they and how do they differ? Biological Theory 6(3): 220–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Odling-Smee, John F., Kevin N. Laland, and Marcus W. Feldman. 1996. Niche construction. American Naturalist 147(4): 641–648.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Odling-Smee, John F., Kevin N. Laland, and Marcus W. Feldman. 2003. Niche construction: The neglected process in evolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  70. Odling-Smee, John F., Kevin N. Laland, Marcus W. Feldman, Eric P. Palkovacs, and Douglas H. Erwin. 2013. Niche construction theory: A practical guide for ecologists. Quarterly Review of Biology 88(1): 4–28.Google Scholar
  71. Orzack, Steven H. 2005. Discussion: What, if anything, is “The Strategy of Model Building in Population Biology”? A comment on Levins (1966) and Odenbaugh (2003). Philosophy of Science 72(3): 479–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Orzack, Steven H., and Elliot Sober. 1993. A critical assessment of Levins’ “The strategy of model building in population biology” (1966). Quarterly Review of Biology 68(4): 533–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Palumbi, Stephen R. 2001. The evolution explosion: How humans cause rapid evolution change. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  74. Pearce, Trevor. 2010. From ‘circumstances’ to ‘environment’ – Herbert Spencer and the origins of the idea of organism-environment interaction. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41(3): 241–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Pearce, Trevor. 2011. Ecosystem engineering, experiment, and evolution. Biology and Philosophy 26(6): 793–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Pelletier, Fanie, Andrew P. Hendry, and Danny Garant. 2009. Eco-evolutionary dynamics. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 364(1523): 1483–1489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Piper, Lisa, and John Sandlos. 2007. A broken frontier: Ecological imperialism in the Canadian North. Environmental History 12(4): 759–795.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Post, David M., and Eric P. Palkovacs. 2009. Eco-evolutionary feedbacks in community and ecosystem ecology: Interactions between the ecological theatre and the evolutionary play. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 364(1523): 1629–1640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Rendell, Luke, Laurel Fogarty, and Kevin N. Laland. 2011. Runaway cultural niche construction. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 366(1566): 809–822.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Robertson, Douglas S. 1991. Feedback theory and Darwinian evolution. Journal of Theoretical Biology 152(4): 469–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Rose, Michael R., and Todd H. Oakley. 2007. The new biology beyond the modern synthesis. Biology Direct 2(1): 30. doi: 10.1186/1745-6150-2-30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Rosell, Frank, Orsolya Bozser, Peter Collen, and Howard Parker. 2005. Ecological impact of beavers Castor fiber and Castor canadensis and their ability to modify ecosystems. Mammal Review 35: 248–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Schoener, Thomas W. 2011. The newest synthesis: Understanding the interplay of evolutionary and ecological dynamics. Science 331(6016): 426–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Schwenk, Kurt, Dianna K. Padilla, George S. Bakken, and Robert J. Full. 2009. Grand challenges in organismal biology. Integrative and Comparative Biology 49(1): 7–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Shavit, Ayelet, and James Griesemer. 2011. Mind the gaps: Why are niche construction processes so rarely used? In Transformations of Lamarckism: From subtle fluids to molecular biology, ed. Snait B. Gissis and Eva Jablonka, 307–318. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  86. Simberloff, Daniel. 2006. Invasional meltdown 6 years later: Important phenomenon, unfortunate metaphor, or both? Ecology Letters 9(8): 912–919.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Simberloff, Daniel, and Betsy von Holle. 1999. Positive interactions of nonindigenous species: Invasional meltdown? Biological Invasions 1(1): 21–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Slobodkin, Lawrence B. 1961. Growth and regulation of animal populations. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  89. Smith, Bruce D. 2007. Human niche construction and the behavioral context of plant and animal domestication. Evolutionary Anthropology 16(5): 188–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Sober, Elliot, and David S. Wilson. 1998. Unto others: The evolution and psychology of unselfish behavior. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  91. Spellberg, Brad, Robert Guidos, David Gilbert, John Bradley, Helen W. Boucher, Michael W. Scheld, John G. Bartlett, and John Edwards Jr. 2008. The epidemic of antibiotic-resistant infections: A call to action for the medical community from the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clinical Infectious Diseases 46(2): 155–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Sterelny, Kim. 2003. Thought in a hostile world: The evolution of human cognition. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  93. Sterelny, Kim. 2011. From hominins to humans: How sapiens became behaviorally modern. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 366(1566): 809–822.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Swenson, William, David S. Wilson, and Roberta Elias. 2000. Artificial ecosystem selection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 97(16): 9110–9114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Thompson, John N. 1998. Rapid evolution as an ecological process. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 13(8): 329–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Turner, Scott J. 2000. The extended organism: The physiology of animal-built structures. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  97. Van Dyken, David J., and Michael J. Wade. 2012a. Origins of altruism diversity I: The diverse ecological roles of altruistic strategies and their evolutionary responses. Evolution 66(8): 2484–2497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Van Dyken, David J., and Michael J. Wade. 2012b. Origins of altruism diversity II: Runaway coevolution of altruistic strategies via “reciprocal niche construction”. Evolution 66(8): 2498–2513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Verdú, Miguel, and Alfonso Valiente-Banuet. 2008. The nested assembly of plant facilitation networks prevents species extinctions. American Naturalist 172(6): 751–760.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Wainwright, Peter C., and Stephen M. Reilly. 1994. Ecological morphology: Integrative organismal biology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  101. Wake, Marvalee H. 2001. Integrative biology: Its promise and its perils. Biology International 41: 71–74.Google Scholar
  102. Wake, Marvalee H. 2004. Integrative biology: The nexus of development, ecology, and evolution. Biology International 46: 3–15.Google Scholar
  103. Wake, Marvalee H. 2008. Integrative biology: Science for the 21st century. BioScience 58(4): 349–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Weisberg, Michael. 2006. Forty years of ‘the strategy’: Levins on model building and idealization. Biology and Philosophy 21(5): 623–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Weisberg, Michael. 2007. Three kinds of idealization. Journal of Philosophy 104(12): 639–659.Google Scholar
  106. Wimsatt, William. 1987. False models as a means to truer theories. In Neutral models in biology, ed. Antoni Hoffman and Matthew H. Nitecki, 23–55. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyWestern UniversityLondonCanada
  2. 2.Mansfield CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations